As I become more and more experienced as a traveller, I also learn what things to pack and what not to pack – what to leave behind. Down the years I made many mistakes when it comes to preparation, equipment, packing etc. It’s all a learning process, a trial and error. You learn from your mistakes in life – it’s a simple as that. These days, having swallowed over 170 countries into my backpack (the latest being Kenya, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo), I fell well equipped to tell you 5 quirky and random travel essentials that you might not know about and that I recommend a lot, especially on long train journeys, overnight buses, nights spent waiting in airport and those unwanted delays…
Ponchos are a must for me. They are cheap, small, easy to carry, they take up hardly any room or weight! Yet this little $1 US invention can save your entire body, bag and laptop from getting soaked! Ponchos are really essential and the only time I ever travel without one is when an airline steals my luggage.
Finding hot tea and coffee can be difficult up in the mountains – so come prepared. By that I mean, firstly bring a travel mug with you on your journey, and second bring some tea bags and coffee sachets! This way, any time you have access to hot water you can make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and stow it away for later! These travel mugs can also be used of course for storing quality energy drinks for hikes, some vitamin drinks like orange juice or even a cheeky beer on your journeys. A quick and easy invention and readily available these days!
3.My Northern Ireland Flag (Fleg)
What some people don’t realise is that I travel everywhere with a Northern Ireland flag. I am a proud Northern Irishman and a nationalist too, so I love to show this flag everywhere I go. The thing is, though, the flag has many many more functions than that and it will surprise you how versatile this flag is! In the past I have used it as:
- a scarf
- a flag
- a towel
- a sun protector
- a sign (to show where you are)
- a beach mat
- a cover for when you are changing clothes!
4.Water Filter Bottle
Water is not always clean and there are so many advantages to bringing your own water filter bottle.
- you don’t waste plastic as it’s reusable
- it’s yours to keep
- you never have to pay for water
- you never have to boil water
- all the water you drink is filtered and therefore safe!
5.Paper and Pen
I’m putting these two together. Real writers are never more than a metre from a paper and pen and this needs to ring true. I love to write and so my backpack always has a working pen (often 3 or 4). This is also so useful in queues at borders for filling in forms, for writing down people’s phone numbers, emails, addresses. In fact, I cannot think of anything much more important than you passport and wallet, than a pen. Plus it is so small and compact and easy for everyone to use!